“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” THE SONG OF SOLOMON, I. 10-11
I am discovering brumation–the process Nature employs with her cold-blooded creatures to help them survive frigid temperatures and lack of food. It’s been an edgy miracle for me since late October, when Shelley Hardesty-Carwile, my Western Box Turtle, entered her winter sleep. Yesterday afternoon–five months later–she emerged, rustling out from beneath layers of newspapers with her little eyes blinking and ready to munch.
To be honest, I had hoped she wouldn’t find it necessary this past fall, because I wasn’t comfortable with the appearance that life was suspended. The vet had told me it wasn’t mandatory, and my thought had been that by continuing to feed her and keep the light on, I could keep things from changing. Shelley’s godfather Will–whose wife Gail (aka Turtle Woman) had been this creature’s mom prior to her passing last spring–said he wasn’t sure I had any choice in the matter. Shelley (previously Hobbes) had been hibernating every winter he had known her, and his guess was that she’d do it again. Which she did.
Okay, it doesn’t take a genius–or a shrink–to understand my being anxious had a lot to do with death/dying/immortality. I was nowhere near in control of this event–that was between Shelley and Mother Nature. And somewhere in the process was my still coming to terms with Gail’s being gone. Couldn’t control that either. Ah, mysterious, edge-of-our-seats, unfolding, ever-teaching Life.
So, how do you celebrate the end of a brilliant brumation? Seems to me a party is in order. And I think I’ll see if Will and our mutual friend Tracy, another fan of The Turtle Woman, will meet up for green, leafy spring salads somewhere.
Shelley says she’ll be having the strawberries.